March 2015

Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et Cetera

Intermittent Picks and Pans of Comics and Related Media Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. An archive can be found on my homepage, Gallbladder removed, no complications, post-surgical pain minimal. Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): Transformers More than Meets the Eye #38. In this installment: Gold Digger #219, Astro City #21, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3, Spider-Man 2099 #10, Spider-Gwen #2, Ms. Marvel #13, Ragnarok #4, My Little Pony Friends Forever #14-15, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #28-29, Transformers More than Meets the Eye #38, The Transformers #38-39, Transformers Windblade v2 #1. "Other Media" Capsules: Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics (i.e. comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this section when I have any to mention. They may not be as timely as comic reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two (or ten) to get around to. Nothing this time. I've started reading the second Goredd novel from Rachel Hartman (_Shadow Scale_) in hardcover, and the second Kindle novel from Priest (_Dual_), but didn't finish them this month. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so, I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. I will often be reading these things on my iPhone if it's at all possible. Nothing this month. I guess Rocket Queen and the Wrench isn't quite monthly. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. None this month. Well, I found the Astro Boy movie adaptation at Dollar Tree, but it's a little late in the game to be reviewing that. Decent enough to pick up if you find it at your local Dollar Tree, tho. Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Gold Digger #219: Antarctic Press - I get what Perry's trying to do here, make Trixie's inner struggle a foreground thing rather than an ominous background, but the problem is that her starting point is so puppy-kickingly evil (I'd say mustache-twirlingly, but she doesn't have one of those) that it's hard to accept that even seeing advantage to being good would convert her. There's a lot of important worldbuilding and plot-advancing stuff in this issue as well, perhaps more by volume than the Trixie stuff, but her scenes just overshadow everything. And not in a good way. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Astro City #21: DC/Vertigo - Quarrel's arc finishes, in more ways than one. And with the next issue blurb being about another hero in retirement (plus the old lady with the robots), "getting too old for this" is really becoming the core theme of the current incarnation of the title. I wonder if this is meant to be a reflection of comics in general, or if it's more of a personal thing for Busiek. Anyway, interesting story with a resolution I wasn't quite expecting. Recommended. $3.99 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3: Marvel - You know, if the cover had anything to do with the story inside, I probably would've been more interested. But no, Squirrel Girl fights Whiplash and then some random cliche bank robbers, before finally spending a couple pages getting offworld to face Galactus. Just not really feeling this book yet, but I'll wait until the Galactus thing is resolved before deciding whether to drop it. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Spider-Man 2099 #10: Marvel - So, one thing Peter David tends to do at Marvel is hold onto plotlines and finish them one way or another. X-Factor cancelled? No problem, shift any remaining load from the Maestro stuff there into Spider-Man 2099. Better hurry, though, since Secreted Wars is about to kill this book too, at least for the duration. This issue is all about getting Mig back to 2015 so he can continue to try to do whatever he's doing that will be interrupted anyway. Just not feeling it, but I figure I'll ride this down to cancellation. Neutral. $3.99 Spider-Gwen #2: Marvel - So, Gwen hits her head and spends the issue hallucinating Spider-Ham, and a lot of her pages this issue feel like Latour really wanted to be writing Jem and the Holograms instead. I didn't bother adding this to my pull, and I doubt I'll be getting #3. Neutral. $3.99 Ms. Marvel #13: Marvel - Artist Takeshi Miyazawa doesn't exactly copy the style of the regular artist, but manages to achieve a very similar feel, probably helped by continuity in coloring. Now that the Inventor has been put away for a while, Kamala's getting more directly involved in the Inhuman side of her life, including meeting two very obviously villainous new Inhumans. Well, okay, one of them acts like an ally, but given the way the story is structured, I'd be very suprised if they're not the greater danger than the one with whom Kamala has a fight scene. Other than the (probably) clumsy foreshadowing, a decent issue. Recommended. $2.99 Ragnarok #4: IDW - Never did find a hardcopy of #3. Not much to say about this one other than that I liked the troll and it was generally a solid Simonsonian read. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #14: IDW - One of several books delayed by the dockworker strike (many of IDW's books are printed in Korea). While the premise of this title is team-ups, and in theory this is Spike and Luna, it's mostly Spike. Whitley engages in signficant worldbuilding here, which is another way of saying it probbaly won't fit in with the cartoon (it's been stated that the cartoons won't make use of comics-originated material, but as long as nothing *contradicts* the comics they can be taken as canonical, give or take. "Forget it Spike, it's Dragontown.") The story is weird in a lot of details, especially the police pony Ride Along, but hey, that's Fillydelphia for you. Garbowska's art is generally good, but sometimes feels like it's drifting into Adventure Time style. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #15: IDW - This team-up is Applejack and Mayor Mare, with a side order of Continuity Error Lad. Well, most of it is handwaveable, but there's several places that feel like Curnow didn't do enough research. Anyway, the goal seems to be a Gilliam-esque satire of government that segues into a more kid-friendly "if you care, you can make a difference" message. Something of a thematic clash there, since the whole point of insane bureaucracy stories is that caring doesn't help, and eventually you get ground down and stop caring. Mildly recommended...a lot of good bits, but they tend to fight against each other. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #28: IDW - Another delayed book. Not really sure what's up with the covers here. Cover A has nothing to do with the story, being (I think) a Norman Rockwell homage. Cover B looks vaguely related, but involving giant spider-things. Cover RI and the Hot Topic cover are just Pinkie poster art. Anyway, the story is in marked contrast to the seemingly identical plot of the previous arc. Instead of continuing to try to work within the rules, the gang just gives up on that, organizes an army of monsters, and storms the place, resulting in the devouring of the antagonist. Yes, that's a spoiler. And no, I'm not making that up. Certainly a contrast to the ranch plot, although it still would have worked better if they'd put another arc in between the two. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #29: IDW - Ted Anderson with artist Jay "Warner Brothers Babies Ponies" Fosgitt turn in a done-in-one tale of ponies and professional wrestling. I suppose, given the number of Bugs Bunny wrestling cartoons, Fosgitt is a good choice for this one. This also would have made a decent spacer between the two Cook/Price 2-parters. While it's good to see one of the minor characters get some spotlight, and the idea of pony pro wrestling is amusing, Anderson didn't do a whole lot with either element. Enough to count as competent, Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers More than Meets the Eye #38: IDW - The Briefcase Saga comes to an end, and quite excellently. More than enough to wash the taste of several mediocre and/or disappointing comics this month out of my metaphorical mouth. Strongly recommended. $3.99 The Transformers #38: IDW - Back on Earth, the setup for Combiner Wars finishes, several plot devices are just sort of turned off, and it all feels kinda anticlimactic. The only one who really wins is Thundercracker, and that's okay. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Transformers #39: IDW - Combiner Wars officially kicks off with Ramondelli's trademark "dark and scratchy" art, plus a new set of common trade dress for all the issues in the crossover. Alpha Bravo and Offroad's presence in their respective teams is explained, the exodus of the Titans is re-explained for the benefit of those just joining us, and Starscream does some very carelessly conniving things, which I suppose doesn't need explanation for anyone who knows the name "Starscream". Mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers Windblade v2 #1: IDW - Scott and Stone are back on volume 2. But where volume 1 was a self-contained story in the aftermath of a big event, this one is tied intimately into the next new big event. Instead of a game of maneuver and intrigue, this one is about who has the biggest hammer (and Mistress of the Flame has a pretty big hammer, come to think of it). Both writer and artist are having to juggle a much bigger cast and a bigger story, and despite any efforts they make, this is probably not going to read as a very coherent single story on its own. Still, so far, so good. And Stone manages to make even Optimus Prime expressive enough to make it VERY clear that he's not personally comfortable with the choice he had to make at the end of the issue. Recommended. $3.99 Dave Van Domelen, "I miss the days when we just exiled people to the arctic north." "Then they just show up a thousand years later and nobody can find any record about how to defeat them. But no, your way is totally better." - Princess Luna and Officer By The Book, MLP Friends Forever #14
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